Abstract Art

Inspired by the radical innovations of late 19th-century painters and sculptors, 20th-century modernists pushed art to new frontiers of expression and abstraction, rewriting the rules about what constituted art and how its materials could be used. Contemporary Art is the art of today, produced by artists who are living in the twenty-first century. Contemporary art … Continue reading “Abstract Art”

Inspired by the radical innovations of late 19th-century painters and sculptors, 20th-century modernists pushed art to new frontiers of expression and abstraction, rewriting the rules about what constituted art and how its materials could be used. Contemporary Art is the art of today, produced by artists who are living in the twenty-first century. Contemporary art provides an opportunity to reflect on contemporary society and the issues relevant to ourselves, and the world around us. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world. Their art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenge traditional boundaries and defy easy definition. Diverse and eclectic, contemporary art as a whole is distinguished by the very lack of a uniform, organizing principle , ideology, or ‘ism.’ Contemporary art is part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family, community, and nationality. Hans Hofmann: Explorations of Major Themes: Pictures on Paper 1940-1950 (catalogue for an exhibition of works on paper; includes artist’s statements). New York: André Emmerich Gallery, 1984. Procter, S. (2004). Playing Politics: Community Music Therapy and the Therapeutic Redistribution of Musical Capital for Mental Health. In M. Pavlicevic & G. Ansdell (Eds.), Community Music Therapy (pp. 214-230). London: Jessica Kingsley. Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) was a British artist, famous for his many paintings of horses. Munnings was an official war artist in the first World War conflict in Europe, and was attached to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. He painted this large canvas in 1918 as a tribute to ‘the last great cavalry charge’. Nearly three-quarters of the Canadian cavalry involved in this attack against German machine-gun positions at Moreuil Wood on 30 March 1918 were killed or wounded. Lieutenant G.M. Flowerdew, who led the charge, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. One of the differences between the developed brains of Homo sapiens and those of the great apes is the increase in area allocated to processing auditory information. Thus, in other primates the size of the visual cortex correlates well with brain size, but in Homo sapiens it is smaller. In contrast, increases in size elsewhere in the human brain have occurred, notably in the temporal lobes, especially the dorsal area that relates to the auditory reception of speech. The expansion of primary and association auditory cortices and their connections, associated with the increased size of the cerebellum and areas of prefrontal and premotor cortex linked through basal ganglia structures, heralded a shift to an aesthetics based on sound, and to abilities to entrain to external rhythmic inputs. The first musical instrument used by our ancestors was the voice. The ear is always open and, unlike vision and the eyes or the gaze, sound cannot readily be averted. Also, for thousands of years of human existence, light in abundance was available only during daytime while sound is available ceaselessly. From the rhythmic beating within and with the mother’s body for the fetus and young infant, to the primitive drum-like beating of sticks on wood and hand clapping of our adolescent and adult proto-speaking ancestors, the growing infant is surrounded by and responds to rhythm. But, as Langer (1951, p. 93) put it, ‘being more variable than the drum, voices soon made patterns and the long endearing melodies of primitive song became a part of communal celebration’. Some support for these ideas comes from the work of Mithen, who has argued that spoken language and music evolved from a proto-language, a musi-language which stemmed from primate calls and was used by the Neanderthals; it was emotional but without words as we know them (Mithen, 2005).